Another storm causes damage here, hitting east side of the county this time around

Exploding tree This red oak tree exploded when it was struck by lightning Thursday night near the home of Les and Patrice Wells in the Spring Creek area between Gainesville and Isabella. Les Wells said pieces of the tree landed 100 feet away from the trunk, and another nearby tree was split by the powerful bolt.

Les and Patrice Wells were sitting in their hilltop home off County Road 829 during Thursday night’s thunderstorm when a bright flash and something that sounded like an explosion shook their house and made them jump. Friday morning, they discovered a large red oak tree that had been shattered by a lightning strike on the perimeter of their property near Spring Creek between Gainesville and Isabella. Pieces of the splintered tree lay 100 feet away from the trunk, Les said, and a nearby tree showed a vertical slit where its bark had been split by the electrical bolt.
This isn’t the first time lightning has exploded a tree on their land, which adjoins Mark Twain National Forest. A few years ago, a similar experience caused a fire, he said, and other lightning strikes have also occurred. Interestingly, on the property they bought in 1981 and built their house on in 1996, it’s only been red oak trees that have been struck, not post oaks or white oaks, Les said.
The lesson he and Patrice have learned from their jolting experiences, Les said, is that whenever there’s lightning in the area, they get inside – fast.
While the Wells home and the exploding tree are on the west side of the county, the Thursday night storm did most of its damage on the east side of Ozark County, according to county commissioners (see related story, page 3). The week before, a storm had hit the county’s west-side roads and bridges hard.
Several county roads and low-water crossings were damaged, and in Bakersfield, school superintendent Amy Britt posted on Facebook that Pride Park sustained damage, and “we have a lot of cleaning up to do.”
T-ball was canceled for June 2, she said, warning in her June 1 post that the playground and walking track were closed and anyone who used them did so at their own risk. “The playground is still standing, but a lot of the mulch has been washed out and the plastic underneath will have to be repaired,” she wrote.

Ozark County Times

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